You don’t belong at this party. Everyone else is so much cooler/smarter/hotter than you.
Why did you say that? I bet he/she thinks you’re such an idiot now!
Ohmygod, everyone’s looking at me. They’ve all noticed how fat I look in these jeans. Why did I wear these jeans?
The voice in our head says some flat-out nasty things to us. Seriously. We’d never put up with a real-life friend who constantly berated us and told us how crap we were, yet we carry a voice around inside us that does exactly that, day-in, day-out.
What is the voice inside our heads?
That voice inside your head, you know that one that says ‘You can’t do that,’ ‘Don’t speak up, you will just make a fool of yourself,’ ‘There is no way that the guy / girl you like, likes you back,’ ‘You could be prettier, funnier, smarter, better!’…
That is your ‘inner mean girl’, ‘inner critic’ or ‘inner nasty Nancy’ – whatever you call her, it is your ego. And she will feed you a whole truck-load of crap to keep you stuck in fear, keep you playing small and keep that tape playing of all the negative and fear-based thoughts perpetuating the cycle.
Like a loop, it just keeps going with its stories. So convincing and so sneaky.
Why do we have it?
Our ego is our mind and it’s there to protect us, keep us safe and firmly planted in our comfort zones. But it gets a little over-zealous with its mission, and instead of keeping us safe, it ends up keeping us small and stuck.
Is it just me?
Nuh-uh, honeybee. We all have that voice.
I too have wrestled with my inner mean girl. I remember for years I would go out with friends on a Saturday night and have a great time. The next morning though… woah! I would dissect every little comment I had made and the tape would start. ‘They probably think you are ridiculous Jo, because you are ridiculous, let’s be honest about it.’ And ‘Gosh, I hope they still like me.’ And ‘I bet by the end of the night when your make-up had worn off a bit, you looked awful.’ I also remember for YEARS not looking anyone in the eye if I was caught with no make-up on. Yep, you guessed it – my mean girl got going with ‘Don’t let them see what you REALLY look like, try and hide your face so they don’t find out the truth.’ Not cool inner mean girl, not cool!!
The thing is though, even though we all may have one, you can learn to deal with the voice better.
What’s the best way to silence the mean inner voice?
Here’s a little 5-step system that you can use next time your ego rears its ugly head and threatens to derail you.
1. Become aware.
Becoming aware of the voice is half the battle. Start to catch that voice and with time it will not be your default voice and way of thinking. Do this as much as you can.
Presence is the enemy of the ego, so being in the present moment is the best way to defuse its power. And the best way to do that? Focus on your breath. In, out, in, out. Simply tuning in to that air entering your lungs and then leaving your body will help take the fire out of that nasty voice.
3. Thank your inner mean girl.
Thanks but no thanks. Thank her for her contribution. Know that she is trying to keep you safe. But that is not true, that is just fear. And you’re not buying it. Thanks but no thanks, ego.
4. Ask yourself this question.
Are you in your head or your heart right now? When you are in your heart, you are operating from love. When you are in your ego, you are in fear. Feel into you heart and choose love.
5. Reprogram your mental mix-tape.
You get to choose what plays on your mental loop. So replace the negative thoughts – you’re so fat, you’re too dumb, everyone thinks you look stupid – and choose what sort of thoughts you’d like to be thinking instead. Things like: you’re doing so well, you’re making awesome progress, everyone loves your giant goofy happy laugh.
Now I’d love to hear from you, beautiful: is your inner voice keeping you trapped and stuck? How does it make you feel? And what are your favourite ways to defuse its power?
Thanks so much for sharing your heartfelt stories in the comments. Your words never fail to inspire me…
Love Jo xx